Suggested DBT Skills Group Schedule

Hello to all of the skills group leaders out there! With the new materials published recently, many skills group leaders are finding it challenging to find a workable schedule for their skills groups. This page is a resource outlining a possible schedule, drawing from Linehan's description in the new materials. The main point here is that you are not expected to get through all of the materials in each module! The new materials include many handouts and worksheets that may or may not be a good fit for your group. You might incorporate some of them some of the time, or you might only use them in individual work with clients. Here's the schedule for group that Linehan proposes.

Excerpted or Adapted from DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan.

TABLE 2.2. Standard Core DBT Skills

Training Schedule: Cycling Twice through All Modules over 12 Months

  • Orientation + Mindfulness module: 2 weeks
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness module: 5 weeks
  • Orientation + Mindfulness module: 2 weeks
  • Emotion Regulation module: 7 weeks
  • Orientation + Mindfulness module: 2 weeks
  • Distress Tolerance module: 6 weeks

This model enables you to move through all modules in 24 weeks, or about 6 months. Going through these modules twice gives you 48 weeks, which works for a full year when you factor in vacations and holidays.

Here is a more detailed schedule as an example for how you might structure a group. Note that many optional handouts are included in this schedule; it will probably not be possible to get through all of the handouts listed for some of these classes! Also, please remember that the groups that Linehan runs are 2.5 hours long, so she will be able to cover more material in her groups than we probably will. At the same time, please note that the groups listed on this site have all committed to meeting for at least 90 minutes!

Schedule 1: 24 Weeks, Linehan Standard Adult DBT Skills Training

Repeated at the start of each module: 2 Weeks Orientation, Mindfulness Skills

Class 1

  • G1: Goals of Skills Training
  • G3: Guidelines for Skills Training
  • G4: Skills Training Assumptions
  • G1a: Options for Solving Any Problem
  • Wise Mind; Mindfulness “What” Skills
  • Class 1 M1: Goals of Mindfulness Practice
  • M2: Overview: Core Mindfulness Skills
  • M3: Wise Mind: States of Mind
  • M4: Taking Hold of Your Mind: “What” Skills
  • M1a: Mindfulness Definitions (to hand out for home)
  • M3a: Ideas for Practicing Wise Mind Mindfulness “How” Skills

Class 2

  • M4: Taking Hold of Your Mind: “What” Skills (cont.)
  • M5: Taking Hold of Your Mind: “How” Skills

Module 1 - 6 Weeks Distress Tolerance Skills

Class 3

  • DT1: Goals of Distress Tolerance
  • DT2: Overview: Crisis Survival Skills
  • DT2: When to Use Crisis Survival Skills
  • DT5: Pros and Cons
  • DT4: The STOP Skill

Class 4

  • DT6: Tip Skills: Changing Your Body Chemistry
  • DT6a: Using Cold Water, Step by Step
  • DT6b: Paired Muscle Relaxation, Step by Step

Class 5

  • DT7: Distracting
  • DT8: Self- Soothing
  • DT9: Improving the Moment
  • DT8a: Body Scan Meditation, Step by Step
  • DT9a: Sensory Awareness, Step by Step

Class 6

  • DT10: Overview: Reality Acceptance Skills
  • DT11: Radical Acceptance
  • DT11b: Practicing Radical Acceptance, Step by Step (or use DTWS 9: Radical Acceptance)
  • DT12: Turning the Mind
  • DT11a: Radical Acceptance:Factors That Interfere with DTWS9: Radical Acceptance

Class 7

  • DT13: Willingness
  • DT14: Half- Smiling and Willing Hands
  • DT14a: Practicing Half- Smiling and Willing Hands

Class 8

  • DT15: Mindfulness of Current Thoughts

Classes 9, 10 - 2 Weeks Orientation, Mindfulness Skills

Module 2 - 7 Weeks Emotion Regulation Skills

Class 11

  • ER1: Goals of Emotion Regulation
  • ER2: Overview: Understanding and Naming Emotions
  • ER3: What Emotions Do for You
  • ER4: What Makes It Hard to Regulate Your Emotions
  • ER5: A Model for Describing Emotions
  • ER6: Ways to Describe Emotions
  • ER4a: Myths about Emotions
  • ER5a: A Brief Model for Describing Emotions

Class 12

  • ER7: Overview: Changing Emotional Responses
  • ER8: Checking the Facts (with ERBWS5: Checking the Facts)
  • ER8a: Examples of Emotions That Fit the Fact

Class 13

  • ER10: Opposite Action (with ERWS6: Figuring Out How to Change Unwanted Emotions)
  • ER11: Figuring Out Opposite Actions (with ERWS7)
  • ER9: Opposite Action and Problem Solving: Deciding Which to Use

Class 14

  • ER12: Problem Solving
  • ER13: Reviewing Opposite Action and Problem Solving

Class 15

  • ER14: Overview: Reducing Vulnerability to Emotion Mind
  • ER15: Accumulating Positive Emotions in the Short Term
  • ER16: Pleasant Events List

Class 16

  • ER17: Accumulating Positive Emotions in the Long Term
  • ER18: Values and Priorities List

Class 17

  • ER19: Build Mastery and Cope Ahead
  • ER20: Taking Care of Your Mind by Taking Care of Your Body
  • ER22: Mindfulness of Current Emotions
  • ER20a: Nightmare Protocol, Step by Step
  • ER20b: Sleep Hygiene Protocol
  • ER21: Overview: Managing Really Difficult Emotions
  • ER23: Managing Extreme Emotions
  • ER24: Troubleshooting Emotion Regulation Skills (with
  • ERWS16: Troubleshooting Emotion Regulation Skills)
  • ER25: Review of Skills for Emotion Regulation

Classes 18, 19 - 2 Weeks Orientation, Mindfulness Skills

Module 3 - 5 Weeks Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

Class 20

  • IE1: Goals of Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • IE2: Factors in the Way of Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • IE4: Clarifying Goals in Interpersonal Situations

Class 21

  • IE5: Guidelines for Objective Effectiveness: Getting What You Want (DEAR MAN)
  • IE5a: Applying DEAR MAN Skills to a Difficult Current Interaction

Class 22

  • IE6: Guidelines for Relationship Effectiveness: Keeping the Relationship (GIVE)
  • IE6a: Expanding the V in GIVE: Levels of Validation
  • IE17: Validation
  • IE18: A “How To” Guide to Validation
  • IE18a: Identifying Validation

Class 23

  • IE7: Guidelines for Self- Respect Effectiveness: Keeping Respect for Yourself (FAST)

Class 24

  • IE8: Evaluating . . . Options (with IEWS6: The Dime Game)
  • IE9: Troubleshooting . . . (with IE WS7: Troubleshooting)

Note. Repeat sequence for 1-year program.